The additions of Noah Dobson and Jean-Gabriel Pageau didn’t appear to cause concern from the NHL on Sunday.
The New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils played as scheduled after the two Islanders were placed onto the league’s COVID-19 protocol list before the game. Dobson even skated in warmups before he was pulled just before the start of the contest.
The night was the Islanders’ first brush with the virus that potentially impacted two of its players directly. Being placed on the protocol list does not necessarily mean that either player tested positive for the virus, which could have been why the league didn’t call off Sunday’s game.
And Josh Bailey was briefly placed on the protocol list earlier this season, but was taken off the next day and did not miss any games.
When asked if there had any thought of postponing Sunday’s game, Islanders head coach Barry Trotz told reporters that it was a question for the league.
And if there were any lingering concerns from the league, it didn’t seem like that was the case since the Islanders were headed towards Washington D.C. after Sunday’s game. “No, I have to get off here to get on the bus, we’re headed there,” Trotz said when asked about Tuesday’s game with the Washington Capitals.
For New Jersey, the events of Sunday surely had an uncomfortably familiar feeling to it. They had been in a similar situation earlier this season when they suffered a COVID-19 outbreak following a weekend set of games against the Buffalo Sabres.
“We trust the doctors around the league and the protocols they have in place,” Devils goalie Scott Wedgewood said, according to NJ.com. “We’ve obviously gone through it and it is definitely scary, but we trust them to make those decisions, so we just kind of focused and went to work.”
Trotz also reiterated his trust in the league’s ability to keep the teams safe during the current climate.
“The NHL is doing a really good job of trying to keep everyone safe,” Trotz said. “Really good job by the NHL and we’ll have to adjust. We knew we’d have to do some of this. Every team has had to. You don’t know there’s so much tracing, there’s so much all that.
“We just want to do what’s right and keep everyone safe.”